Head to Head

SSERC - Who we are

SSERC, formally constituted as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and a registered Scottish Charity set up for the benefit of Scottish Education, is wholly owned by the 32 Scottish   Local Authorities.  Although in existence since 1965, SSERC was formally incorporated and  registered as a charity in 1991.  SSERC’s services are complex, highly specific and unique in Scottish education.

Our Board of Directors comprises elected members from Scottish councils, senior education officers and representatives from The Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, School Leaders Scotland, The Association of Head Teachers and Deputes in Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament. The Board meets on a quarterly basis.

SSERC – what do we do

SSERC offers a broad portfolio of services, principally in support of the science and technology area of the curriculum, which are not available from any other source  and which can be broken down into three main stands of activity:-
•    Provision of Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) for primary and secondary teachers and school and college technicians
•    The Advisory Service
•    Lead Coordination role for STEM Ambassadors in Scotland

SSERC – The CLPL Service

During 2016/2017 SSERC has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government, National STEM Learning Centre (NSLC), The Primary Science Teaching Trust and others to deliver a programme of experiential CLPL for primary and secondary teachers, student teachers and technicians focussing on Science and Technology.

Our professional development courses range from twilight events, day-courses through to residential meetings lasting up to 5 days in total (these latter courses are generally delivered over 2 parts). A number of our courses are delivered through e-learning systems and use Glow-meet technology. Our curriculum coverage spans both primary and secondary sectors and we offer events for teachers, trainee teachers and technicians.   Our portfolio is varied and includes:
•    Courses for Probationers and newly qualified teachers
•    Subject specific courses for teachers in primary and secondary sectors
•    A range of transition courses to promote enhanced interaction between primary and secondary practitioners
•    The annual Scottish Universities Science School
•    Health and Safety courses for teachers and technicians
•    Design and manufacturing courses for technology teachers
•    Courses targeted at science and technology support staff (many of these courses are levelled and credit-rated by SQA within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
•    Leadership courses for Curriculum Leaders and Heads of Faculty
•    The annual SSERC Science and Technology Conference

Our year planner, which can be found at http://www.sserc.scot/images/CPD_17_18/SSERC%20YP2017_def.pdf, illustrates the range of development opportunities currently available.  

PRIMARY SECTOR (2016/2017)

We offered a combination of open courses and Local Authority Cluster based programmes to provide a systematised programme of CLPL in science and technology for primary school teachers.   Our CLPL opportunities are focussed on hands on experiential learning experiences, predominately on a face to face basis, but also via digital platforms which allow us to reach out to geographically remote areas.
•    4100 primary school teacher attendances (against a target of 3000).
•    8 Local Authority Clusters added to our existing programme (now full Local Authority coverage).
•    97% ‘very good’ or ‘good’ satisfaction rates from participants.

Full detail relating to the independent evaluation of our Primary Cluster Programme can be found at http://www.sserc.org.uk/images...

What people say about SSERC CLPL:
“The learning and teaching has improved along with teacher confidence, the response from pupils has been great”

“Really useful practical ideas which can be taken back and used with Primary 1”

“The activities are great for developing scientific thinking with children and have allowed me to become more confident about teaching science and supporting learners”.


SSERC provides CLPL for secondary school science and technology teachers as well as school technicians.
•    1475 secondary school attendances (against a target of 1300).
•    Overall satisfaction rates with the content and quality of courses and associated resources remain exceptionally high.
•    415 technicians attendances (against a target of 400) CLPL.
•    85% of Local Authority secondary schools and all Delegates at a number of our courses are eligible to receive grants to support their attendance. Teachers in Local Authority funded-schools in Scotland may qualify for an ENTHUSE Award from NSLC to cover registration and accommodation costs associated with the courses

SSERC – The Advisory Service

It is important that risks are managed responsibly and sensibly. We believe that health and safety legislation should not be a barrier to the provision of valuable learning experiences for young people and we offer a range of training courses and guidance materials which discourage bureaucratic and over complex methods of risk management. Our range of services include:
•    Specialist Health & Safety advice for schools and Local Authorities.
•    Unlimited access to specialist advisors in Primary Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technology, Technician Services and Health and Safety.
•    Guidance and compliance advice for Radiological Health & Safety legislation through our Radiation Protection Adviser.
•    Free Management of Health & Safety courses for Curriculum Leaders. Other specialist Health & Safety courses, including Radiological Protection, which are heavily subsidised or free.
•    Access to the SSERC website - curriculum support materials, Health & Safety advice and resources e.g. exemplar Risk Assessments for both specific subject and whole school
•    activities.
•    Professional development programmes for managers, teachers and technicians.
•    Recommendations on equipment and design of specialist accommodation.
•    Free consultancy and technical information.
•    Apparatus testing for safety, performance and conformance with standards.

SSERC – STEM Ambassador Programme Liaison Lead in Scotland
SSERC, on behalf of STEM Learning, works in partnership with the three Scottish STEM Ambassador Hubs to ensure a seamless offering to support the education community.
STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They are volunteers from 17-70 years old, representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs across the UK. Our Ambassadors include apprentices, zoologists, set designers, climate change scientists, engineers, farmers, geologists, nuclear physicists and architects. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. They not only inspire young people; they also support teachers in the classroom by explaining current applications of STEM in industry or research. STEM Ambassadors work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences.

SSERC, 2 Pitreavie Court, Dunfermline. KY11 8UU

Phone:              01383 626070
Free phone:         0800 8406998
Fax:                01383 842793
E-mail:             sts@sserc.scot
Web:                www.sserc.scot